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printed April 24, 2014
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Review: Sony Xperia Ion for AT&T

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Menus Calls/Contacts Messaging  

In what I am sure is a total surprise to everyone, the Ion includes Gmail, email, SMS/MMS, IM, GTalk, Google+, Google+ Messenger and other messaging applications. The stock Android apps are just as you expect them to be. The official Android Facebook application is pre-installed, but the official Twitter app isn't.

What sets the Ion apart from other Android devices is the TimeScape software conjured up by Sony. TimeScape has been a part of Sony's Android devices from day one, and it has grown up a bit over the course of the last few years.

First, there are three different TimeScape widgets. The first consumes an entire home screen panel and lets you sort through Facebook and Twitter updates that appear in the form of a floating stack of cards. Flick up and down to shuffle through the deck. It's a neat visual presentation, but I found it didn't want to update very often.

There are two, smaller widgets that let you target smaller actions. The first is a little text bar for you to post your own status. This bar has a cool button that lets you easily pick which social network you want to update, without leaving the home screen. The second is a bit larger, and includes the avatars of 8 contacts and quick access to their most recent updates. For example, my friend Lynn has 12 status updates, so a little "12" appears above her picture. If I press her picture, I am taken to those updates on a single card, even if the updates are to multiple social networks.

Lastly, there's a full TimeScape application. It uses the floating stack of cards trick and separates out all the social networks. Swipe from side-to-side to see just your Twitter stream, or just your Facebook stream, etc. It also works with LinkedIn and FourSquare.

 

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